Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato institute think tank, said the country had the ability to do “extraordinary damage” to neighbouring nations.
He said Kim “probably” did not have the capability to launch an attack directly on the United States but could spark a “very messy” conflict in the region.
Mr Bandow told Sky News: “The real retaliatory capacity today is primarily on South Korea. They [North Korea] are trying to develop intercontinental missiles, they probably don’t have the capability to hit the United States.
“But what they do have is the ability to do extraordinary damage to South Korea and also probably hit other countries in the region, so any conflict would be a very messy one.”
Doug Bandow has warned a US strike on North Korea could spark a "messy" conflict in the region
What they do have is the ability to do extraordinary damage to South Korea and also probably hit other countries in the region, so any conflict would be a very messy one
He insisted US military action was “not a good option” and called for Donald Trump to work with China to address tensions.
“The most important option is finding a way to work with China, which requires I think a willingness to address some of their concerns,” he said.
“The issue’s been brought pretty strongly to China, they know the US cares, I think there’s an opportunity to work together. Military action is not a good option.”
Mr Bandow said America would have to make compromises with China in order to diffuse the situation with North Korea.
North Korea May Be Preparing a Nuclear Test for Kim Il-Sung’s Birthday
Fri, April 14, 2017
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North Korea has begun preparing festivities for the 'Day of the Sun,' a holiday celebrating communist leader Kim Il-Sung
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Military officers visit the birthplace of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, a day before the 105th anniversary of his birth, in Mangyongdae, just outside Pyongyang
Donald Trump dropped a bomb on ISIS targets in Afghanstan
He said: “The idea is if China was more willing to put pressure on, that might cause a change in the leadership.
“China’s not going to do that if fears collapse. If it fears mass refugees and conflict that requires the US to work with them as well as make a diplomatic approach.
“The Chinese have been very insistent that the US be the ones to talk to North Korea, that’s going to have to be part of the package.”
The comments come after the US dropped a MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast) bomb on an ISIS tunnel in Nangahar, Afghanistan, sparking a response from North Korea.
North Korea’s state agency KCNA warned against “serious military hysteria” and said US military action in Afghanistan “could not be overlooked”.
The US President is now deploying an “armada” into the Sea of Japan in response to Kim’s nuclear threat, and is reportedly assessing a number of military options.